The famed Southampton youth academy has some good prospects in the making, and we've decided to discuss which ones have the best chance of making a name for themselves.
Do any of them have the potential to become the next Gareth Bale?
Here's the Muse!
Which 3 youth academy products/players have the best future at Southampton?
I very much like Harry Reed. I'm a little bit surprised he's not played more or gone out on loan, but I think he can be a real big player, full of energy.
After that, I think Callum Slattery can become a top player if he keeps working hard, and have to say I hadn't heard of him before I watched him for the Under-18s but Jake Vokins caught my eye. So quick, and looks like he can be the next top Saints left back.
Harrison Reed is an obvious choice. He was fantastic when he started against Everton last season and was instrumental in our win which really kickstarted our season again after a poor run of form. No idea why he hasn't had much of a chance since. Koeman isn't even putting him on the bench these days which is a bit worrying, but I trust his judgement!
I'm not too clued up on our best youngsters, but Callum Slattery looks a big talent. I'm glad he's decided to stay at Saints despite all the big club vultures circling about a year ago.
Ryan Seager also seems to know where the net is. But, it's a massive shame to see he picked up a serious knee injury while out on loan. Hopefully he can get back to full fitness without any repercussions that could affect his ability in years to come.
George Galpin (In reply to Jake)
Was tempted with Seager, who admittedly looks a very good prospect.
My worry with him is whether he's quite good enough to be Premier League. He's a good poacher, but is he scoring goals because he's good, or is it because he's taking advantage of inexperienced defenses? I saw Sam Hoskins the other day for Northampton, and he looked awful... I know it was based off one viewing but you could tell why he wasn't a top level player.
I haven't seen much of the academy players but Harry Reed is definitely at the top of the list. He was impressive in his stint in the first team last season and Koeman said that he was the only under 21 player knocking on the door of the first team.
It'll be interesting to see which loan players will be a part of the first team this summer considering a seeming change of shift in attitude towards loaning players out. The likes of Jack Stephens and Sam Gallagher who finished the campaign with the under 21's will be keen to be a part of next season.
It's a shame that Ryan Seager got such a serious injury at a young age as he was in good form around the time. I've also heard good things of Callum Slattery too so it'll be interesting to see him progress over the next couple of years.
Harrison Reed must be wondering what he's got to do sometimes as he has done well when he's played. Love his relentless energy and enthusiasm (one or two of the first team could learn a thing or two).
Seager has scored loads of goals in the youth team and I would like to see him given a chance - likewise Gallagher.
Finally, on the occasions I have seen Mugabi play I have always wondered why we got Cuco in as this guy looks like he has clear potential to me.
Youth development is the one area of Ronald's tenure that disappoints me the most - although our early cup exits won't have helped him to rotate.
Most of the time it seems if a youth product doesn't break through early he won't reach an elite level. There are obviously exceptions(Schneiderlin, Kane, Vardy) but when it comes to our academy the cream of the crop usually rises quickly. Bale, Walcott, Oxlade, Shaw, JWP all debuted before they could legally booze. I'm not sure how bright Reed's future is at saints which is a shame because he has already proved himself a decent premier league level midfielder.
My favourite player in the academy is Jake Hesketh. He is at the heart of most of the U21s best play. He's a neat and tidy footballer with a great eye for a key pass. More excitingly for me is his ability to score from midfield, a quality completely lacking in our first eleven. Whether he is strong enough yet to compete in the premier league is the only question mark against him. This upcoming pre-season will be important for him. If not expect him to shine on loan in the championship.
Our brightest prospect is no doubt Callum Slattery. He's a fantastic multi-faceted talent who oozes class in the centre of midfield but has had a injury plagued season which cut short any plans of a quick ascension to the first team. Will be fun to see his development in the U21s next season.
Alfie Jones has been a massive success this year. I would usually wax lyrical about Will Wood here but this season he was one of many to see the surgeon's knife. Jones has taken the chance afforded him by Wood's absense with both hands. They are similar in stature and playing style. Tall, slim, calm and good with the ball. Wood isn't averse to playing wide and even scored a brace when played on the left wing for the under 18s. Jones can do a job in centre midfield.
Harrison Reed is the obvious name that springs to mind, he's made first team appearances and has picked up caps in the England set-up. He's perhaps slightly unfortunate with the strength and depth of the midfield situation right now, but he's never let anyone down and is a good, tenacious midfielder.
Two others? Hmm. I'd go with Jake Hesketh and Olufela Olomola.
Jake showed in Ronald Koeman's first season that he's got potential and had a good eye for a pass. He looked good operating just in behind a front man in the game away at Burnley last season, it was just a shame he limped off.
Olufela has made the bench this season, which you can assume is a pretty good indicator that he's caught Koeman's eye and has a future here. I know he left Arsenal behind to sign for Saints, so we'll see how he develops over the next couple of years.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Harrison Reed is my #1 guy. He has looked like a great talent whenever he's on, but unfortunately, like Connor said, he's dealing with a position with great depth. I'll be interested to see if he cracks the first team should Victor Wanyama leave this summer.
Can we still consider Matt Targett an academy guy? Because if so, I rate him highly. Should Ryan Bertrand leave us in the next few years, there's no reason Matt can't become the starter. He had some rough spots early on, while filling in for Bertrand this season, but has shown his potential and talent throughout the season. He's only going to get better.
Finally, I like the potential of both Ryan Seager and Jake Hesketh.
Those are our answers! Which youth players would you like to see feature in the first team? Tell us in the comments!